TORONTO, October 27, 2019 – Chapalu sprinted out for the lead early and held sway to win the $125,000 Grey Stakes for two-year-olds with Patrick Husbands aboard for the Grade 3 score on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack.
Breaking from posts seven and eight respectively, Chapalu out-sprinted Torres Del Paine for the lead through a :24.45 opening quarter in the 1-1/16-mile main track event. The 8-5 favourite then opened up a 2-1/2-length lead and maintained that margin through middle splits of :48.17 and 1:11.77.
Torres Del Paine chased the front-runner into the stretch while Lookinatamiracle and Muskoka Gold rallied on then ducked inside to threaten late, but Chapalu held on to win by a half-length in 1:44.50.
Muskoka Gold, winner of the Cup and Saucer Stakes over the same distance on turf here three weeks ago, edged out Lookinatamiracle for the runner-up honours while Torres Del Paine finished back in fourth.
Fresh off a maiden-breaking victory at Keeneland over one-mile of turf, the Arnaud Delacour-trained Chapalu was the favoured shipper in a field of nine and paid $5.30 to win.
Owned by Edward Seltzer and Beverly Anderson, the homebred Flatter-Panther Strike colt debuted on August 1 finishing second over 5-1/2 furlongs on the grass at Laurel Park.
“I watched the last two races and last time he was a little bit rank in the first turn, and he relaxed throughout the rest of the race,” said Husbands. “Coming into this race today, I was on the outside and I just wanted to give him an easy trip and he left there aggressive.
“He was doing it so easy. When I got going in the first turn and he gave me his ears, I knew he wasn’t going too fast. And they by the five-eighths pole, his ears were still pricked so I knew he wasn’t going too fast. Then by the three-quarter pole, his ears were still pricked and I said, ‘You know what? He’s the real deal.’”
Down the lane with rivals closing in, Husbands said Chapalu geared down and still had a little bit more to offer.
Husbands, the leading stakes-winning jockey of the meet (18), teamed up with Delacour for a Grade 3 stakes win a month ago in the Durham Cup with The Great Day.
Just prior to the stakes feature, Gray Phantom ($12.80) bested a field of all-grey horses under cloudy skies in the third annual $50,000 Grey Handicap. The seven-year-old Hard Spun gelding, who finished second by a head in the inaugural running, won the race for the second consecutive year, taking the lead with a sixteenth to go and prevailing over Dani’s Victory in a photo finish. Eurico Rosa Da Silva was aboard this time for trainer Martin Drexler and owner Augusto Onesi.
The one-mile event, which was moved off the turf, was restricted to gray and roan registered three-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2018-2019.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes at Woodbine on Wednesday evening at 6:45 p.m. Please note there will be a special post time of 3:25 p.m. for this coming Friday’s Thoroughbred racing program.